Not enough good things can be said about the 20-year-old defenceman. Hughes came into the 2019-20 campaign with five NHL games under his belt and a lot of expectations from the Canucks fanbase. He was never supposed to be available when the Canucks walked up to the podium at the 2018 NHL Draft, but he fell to seventh overall and Vancouver snagged arguably the biggest steal of the year.
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Expectations for the rookie defender were higher than any other defenceman who had ever been drafted to the Pacific west coast. A lot of professionals had him pegged to be a 35-40 point guy who would slow down after the halfway point of the season. Who could complain about that? Not any Canucks fan, that’s for sure. It had been seasons since the Canucks had a 40 point defender. So just how right were they?
Hughes was an absolute freak of nature. He believed in himself all season, but what they got out of him was much more than anyone could have possibly predicted and it’s a shame he likely won’t get the proper opportunity to complete the 82-game grind. He was hands down the best blueliner this franchise has ever possessed.
The Orlando, Florida native put up 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) in 68 games, he was tied for the team lead in power play points (25), he was voted into the 2020 All-Star Weekend as well as leading all NHL rookies in scoring. The kid was absolutely incredible this season. His future is very, very bright for him in Vancouver.